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The Doubt Machine: Documentary Reveals How the Koch Brothers Wage War on Climate Science

The Koch brothersattack on clean energy solutions is just one prong of their war on anything that threatens the dominance of fossil fuels. While funding fights against renewable energy policies at the federal and state levels, the Koch brothers have also been using their vast wealth to sow the seeds of doubt about the science of climate change.

This week, the Real News Network released “The Doubt Machine: The Koch Brothers’ War on Climate Science,” a documentary that explores how Koch-funded entities attacked and threatened climate scientists like Michael Mann and journalists like Jane Mayer. Both Mann and Mayer feature prominently in the documentary, which is narrated by Emma Thompson. You can watch it right here, and it’s well worth your half hour:

Learn more about The Real News’ Global Climate Change Bureau. The Real News Network

Mann, as the film reveals, was dragged through the “Climategate” faux-scandal” and then subjected to subpoenas, harassment, and even death threats. The whole senseless (and seemingly endless) attack on Mann and his climate science colleagues was well documented on DeSmog in real time.

Yes, the climate change denial movement has been well chronicled in Merchants of Doubt, Climate Cover-up and elsewhere, but The Doubt Machine definitely adds some useful personal context from Mann and Mayer, and also draws the clear connections from the denial-sphere to the Koch brothers.


U.S. Electric Vehicle Market is Heating Up

In case you haven’t heard:  the U.S. electric vehicle market is charged up and getting hotter.

What exactly does this mean? We’ll tell you.

  1. More than 45,000 electric vehicles were purchased in the third quarter of 2016. This is a 60% increase from the third quarter of 2015.

  2. Growth is happening despite low oil prices and the limited availability of EVs across the country. Even with low gas prices, it’s still cheaper to drive on electric fuel.

  3. Sales will likely increase with policy shifts on the horizon. On the whole, EVs are not readily available outside of California. Thanks to the California Zero Emission Vehicle program, automakers are required to sell electric cars and trucks within the state. Starting in 2018, nine other states will adopt similar policy: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

  4. Automakers are investing in and rolling out new electric models, big time. Here’s a short list of what’s in the pipeline: Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, Toyota Prius Prime, Hyundai Ioniq, and Audi’s yet-to-be-named electric SUV.

The Union of Concerned Scientists have captured these developments in more depth and visually through some great charts. See them here: The State of the Electric Car Market in 4 Charts and Graphs

Image: Toyota Prius Prime

Charles Drevna Talks Rising Natural Gas Prices on Fox Business

Charles Drevna, President and CEO of the Koch-funded oil and gas PR campaign Fueling U.S. Forward, appeared on Fox Business last week to answer questions about the rising prices of natural gas. Watch the exchange:

In case you didn’t quite follow the exchange, the host is  referring to a couple of reports by the Energy Information Agency. The first is the annual Winter Fuels Outlook, which predicts significantly higher natural gas costs than last winter.

EIA forecasts gas prices will average $10.37/Mcf, 11% higher than last winter and the highest since the winter of 2010–11. EIA expects households heating primarily with natural gas to spend $116 (22%) more this winter compared with last winter, a result of the higher prices and increased natural gas consumption.

The second is about natural gas rig counts, which have been steadily plummeting from a late 2008 peak, as can be seen in this EIA graph. 20161013_rigsDrevna explains the reduction in rig count by talking about “American ingenuity.” But he neglects to mention that the easiest, most economically efficient path to lower natural gas prices is to reduce demand, which can be done—at a personal economic gain—through home building efficiency, weatherization, and replacing natural gas boilers with truly innovative, clean electric heat pumps.

It’s Cheaper to Fuel Cars with Electricity than Gas in All 50 States

A common refrain is that electric vehicles are expensive. Yes, they can cost more to purchase, but that is just one of the costs associated with car ownership. After purchase, your largest expense is usually fuel. So, how do electric vehicles measure up to their gas counterparts on fuel costs?

Comparing electricity and gas markets is complex and tricky. Nevertheless, Plugless has done it. And, the company’s findings are telling:  its cheaper to drive on electricity than gas in all 50 states. Let that sink in, anywhere you drive, electric fuel is cheaper than gas. This is the case when national gas prices sit very low — $2.20/gallon. 

Plugless’ analysis found that on average electric vehicle owners save $60 per month on fuel costs. That’s $720 per year. In states such as Oregon, Washington, and Montana, savings sit at more than $1,000 per year.

See the data on all 50 states and read the full story at Plugless: Driving on Electricity is Cheaper Than Gas in All 50 States

Image credit: Nissan Leaf Charging by Myrtle Beach TheDigitel